Sean Hannity is now trying to claim he does "real news," yet he has repeatedly admitted he's "not a journalist"

Sean Hannity is now trying to claim he does "real news," yet he has repeatedly admitted he's "not a journalist"

Hannity claims to be a journalist only when it suits him

Blog ››› ››› BOBBY LEWIS, ZACHARY PLEAT & GRACE BENNETT


Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

In a March 15 Time magazine profile, Fox News anchor Shepard Smith said of the discrepancy between his own news reporting and his network’s opinion lineup that “some of our opinion programming is there strictly to be entertaining” and that “they don’t really have rules on the opinion side. They can say whatever they want.”

Sean Hannity, host of one of Fox News’ opinion shows, blasted Smith’s characterization, claiming that he “breaks news daily” and that Smith is “clueless about what we do every day.” (Fox is currently being sued for the kind of “news” Hannity breaks.)

Of course, the Fox host and Trump sycophant has repeatedly asserted that he is not a journalist and not a “news person,” while also coining his own phrase -- “advocacy journalist” -- to use when it’s convenient.

  • On the July 7, 2004, edition of Fox News’ Hannity & Colmes, Sean Hannity commented,“I'm not a journalist. I am an outspoken, compassionate, thoughtful, independent-thinking conservative.”

  • In an October 8, 2008, article, the New York Daily News reported that “Hannity doesn’t call himself a journalist, but rather a talk show host, which is significant because it frees him to offer opinions when he wants.” The article quoted him as saying,“I have an opinion. Everybody knows it. Everybody who sees me, watches me, knows I'm a conservative."

  • On March 6, 2012, Hannity tweeted that he’s “an OPINION advocacy journalist.”

  • During a May 2015 segment on his radio program criticizing ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, Hannity said: “I’m honest about my opinions. I am a conservative. I say I’m a registered conservative. I am a talk show host. I don’t portray myself as a news -- a news person. Now, I am a journalist, but there are different forms of journalism. There’s advocacy journalism. ... I’m the only conservative in the country that hosts a nightly news program, an opinion program, a talk show, in the country that says he’s a conservative.”

  • In August 2015, Hannity said Univision anchor Jorge Ramos is “not a journalist, and you’re not a reporter. You are a talk show host. You may think you’re a news guy. You may present yourself as a news guy. But you are an advocacy journalist, which makes you -- puts you on par with somebody like me. You never hear me call myself a journalist. I'm not. I'm a talk show host.”

  • During a December 14, 2015, interview with International Business Times, Hannity again argued that he is not a journalist: “If you ask me, am I a journalist? No. Advocacy journalist, you could say that, but I consider myself a talk show host.”

  • In April 2016, after a series of softball interviews with then-presidential candidate Donald Trump, Hannity hit back at critics, claiming, “I'm not a journalist, I'm a talk show host.”

  • The next month, Hannity was back to calling himself an “advocacy journalist” while criticizing Katie Couric.

  • In August 2016, Hannity told The New York Times that he has “never claimed to be a journalist."

  • In October 2016, Hannity twice tweeted that he was not a journalist.​

  • On March 27, 2017, Hannity said he was “an opinionated journalist.”

  • On August 7, he was “a journalist, but ... an advocacy journalist.”

  • He referred to himself as an “advocacy journalist” again during an interview for a November New York Times Magazine profile: “I’m a journalist. But I’m an advocacy journalist, or an opinion journalist.”

  • On January 5, Hannity described his Fox show as “an opinion program” on which he is “an advocacy journalist.”

  • On January 11, Hannity said that people suggest he is “not a journalist,” but “I am a journalist. I'm an advocacy, opinion journalist,” and said, “I still do plenty of reporting.”

  • On January 17, Hannity argued that “part of being a talk show host is journalism. ... It’s just not traditional journalism. It’s advocacy journalism, it’s opinion journalism.”

  • On January 24, Hannity said that he’s “a talk show host” who “wear[s] many hats,” among them “opinion journalist” or “advocacy journalist.”

  • On February 7, Hannity argued that while he is not a “traditional journalist ... part of my job as a talk show host is journalism.”

  • On February 22, Hannity claimed that he knows reporters who “say that they’re jealous of me because I’m doing work that they’re not allowed to do on their network.” On the same day, Hannity argued on his radio show that “as part of being a talk show host, I actually do journalism,” but he noted that he is an “opinion journalist” and “an advocacy journalist.”

  • On March 15, Hannity said on his radio show that “I’ve spent a lot of time now doing more reporting than I've ever done in my career.” He listed several frequent guests who he claims break news on his show, including Jay Sekulow, President Donald Trump’s lawyer.

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